Ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11, “Boardwalk Empire” star Steve Buscemi is opening up about his post-traumatic stress from volunteering with the New York City Fire Department that fateful day.
“Post-traumatic stress? Absolutely,” Buscemi said on Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast Thursday.
The 63-year-old actor served as a New York City firefighter in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood from 1980 to 1984 before turning to acting. Buscemi returned to volunteer with his old Engine Company No. 55 following the 2001 terrorist attacks to assist in search and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center.
“The next morning, I grabbed my old gear, got a lift to the site and found a place on a bucket brigade,” he wrote in an essay published by TIME on Thursday. “Instead of water going up, it was rubble coming down. Once in a while a body bag was passed, though none weighed much at all. That was disturbing.”
The Brooklyn native told Maron he “eventually learned that five (members of his firehouse) were missing. One of them was a good friend of mine I used to work with.”
Buscemi said the trauma of 9/11 hit him after he volunteered: “I was only there for like five days, but when I stopped going and tried to just live my life again, it was really, really hard.”
Although he doesn’t have any long-term health issues like many Ground Zero first-responders and 9/11 survivors, Buscemi said he suffers post-traumatic stress.
“I haven’t experienced any health issues, and I get myself checked out, but definitely…. Post-traumatic stress? Absolutely,” the “Fargo” actor told Maron.
“I was depressed, I was anxious, I couldn’t make a simple decision,” Buscemi said. “All those things. It’s still with me. There are times when I talk about 9/11 and I’m right back there. I start to get choked up and I realize, ‘Ah, this is still a big part of me.'”
Buscemi said the upcoming anniversary is “definitely a trigger” for “a lot of people that were down there.”
In 2014, Buscemi was named Honorary Battalion Chief by the the Honorary Fire Officers Association for his contributions to the New York City Fire Department.
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